The Smiley System


As explained by Andrew

Because we at Regularly Scheduled Programming find such thing as numbers and stars ratings to be rather arbitrary when trying to adequately judge movies, we devised our own rating system that we have dubbed the “Smiley System.” (or also the “Andrew rating system,” for obvious reasons) Unlike more traditional systems, the Smiley System does not attempt to determine how objectively “good” a movie is, it only serves to show how the reviewer personally felt about the movie.  We feel that this system allows us to adequately express our opinions while embracing the intrinsic subjectivity of the moviegoing experience.  It also allows us to avoid certain trappings of other rating systems, as there is never any confusion as to how we “actually” felt about a movie.

Without further ado,  the explanation:

There are seven different ratings that can be given to a movie indicated by a certain type of smiley face (hence the name).  They are…

  1. Loved it

  2. Liked it

  3. Generally Liked it

  4. Neutral

  5. Generally Disliked it

  1. Disliked it

  2. Hated it

While the ratings that are higher on this list are certainly “better” than those listed below it, it is important to remember that these ratings are simply based on the feelings of the reviewer.  We do not necessarily consider a movie that gets a “Loved It”  a perfect movie or equivalent to a 10/10 on a more traditional scale, only that we personally really liked that movie.  Again, the system makes no claim to determine how objectively good a movie is.

Although the ratings themselves are fairly self-explanatory, and can really be interpreted in any way you choose to use them, here is how I personally think of them, and how I choose to apply them.


Loved it

Loved ItThis is a movie that I will go out of my way to recommend to others. When I see a “Loved It” movie, I know immediately  that it is something that I want to see again. I either personally see the movie as flawless, or I like the movie enough to forgive its shortcomings.  On the podcast, we often refer to this rating as a big smiley.

This ratings is indicated by a :D on our ratings lists.

Example from Andrew’s List:

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris

I really like the concept of the movie, and the typical Woody Allen dialogue is in top form. Owen Wilson’s performance is great and really encapsulates the muted tone of the entire film. I would consider this one of my favorite movies and actively recommend it to anyone I meet.

Liked it

Liked ItThis is a movie that I thought was good, but just not one of my personal favorites.  I wouldn’t feel compelled to go out of my way to recommend this movie, but I would still recommend it if someone asked me about it directly.  This is a movie that is worth rewatching if it comes up, but not one that I would actively want to rewatch.  Both “Loved It” movies and “Liked It” movies are good, but “Loved It” movies usually coincide more with my personal tastes while “Liked It” do not.  On the podcast, we often refer to this rating as either a regular smiley or a solid smiley.

This ratings is indicated by a : ) on our ratings lists.

Example from Andrew’s List:



The movie is well executed.  The script is solid, the performances were good, and Affleck proves once again that he can direct.  I like this movie, but it isn’t necessarily one of my favorites.  I  would recommend Argo, but only if someone asked me about it directly.

Generally Liked it

Generally Liked ItThis is a movie that is mostly good, but has some rather glaring flaws that I can’t really ignore. I had a good time while I was watching it, but if I never saw it again I wouldn’t be that upset.  I would recommend this movie, but only with reservations or to a person with very specific tastes who could ignore the flaws that I couldn’t.

This rating is indicated by a : ] on our ratings lists.

Example from Andrew’s list:


Pacific Rim

I had fun watching this movie.  The robot versus monster fights were well choreographed, and they are exactly what I wanted out of the movie.  However, I’m disappointed that this film wasn’t much more that that.  The characters were flat and the story was kind of dull and predictable.  It’s a shame because there was a lot of I potential for real character exploration, especially with the whole mind-melding mechanic.  I would recommend Pacific Rim if someone is specifically looking for a big dumb action movie, but not otherwise.


NeutralFor me, the rarely applied neutral face comes in two varieties.

A) A movie that I literally feel neutral about.  I can’t say that I liked it or disliked it, nor can I recommend it or dissuade people from it.  This is the type of movie that I immediately forget about when its over, but not something that I hated while watching it.

B) A movie that I don’t know how to feel about.  It is either incomprehensible to me or has good and bad qualities in equal measure.

This rating for me, is for movies that just…are.  I can’t say whether I liked them or disliked them, only that I watched them.

This rating is indicated by a : I  on our ratings lists.

Examples from Andrew’s List:


Type A – Helvetica

I would tell you about this documentary, I but I literally can’t remember a thing about it.  I didn’t think it was bad while I was watching, but the second I left the screening it was as if it never happened.  There was nothing to definitively say that this movie was bad, but it had no qualities that made it good either and it was overall very forgettable.


Type B – Upstream Color

The shots and cinematography in this movie were beautiful, and in my heart of hearts I know that this movie is trying to say something, but it’s muddled in such incomprehensibility that I don’t even know what’s going on in it.  I can’t straight up hate it, because I can see potential through the muck, but I can’t say I like it either because the muck is there in the first place.

Generally Disliked it

Generally Disliked ItThis is a movie that is generally bad.  There are some redeeming qualities about the movie that are worth mentioning, but they do not do enough for the movie to earn it a recommendation.  I wouldn’t choose to sit through this movie again, but if was forced upon me I could probably tolerate it.

This rating is indicated by a : [ or a : / on our ratings lists.

Example from Andrew’s list:


Chernobyl Diaries

I like the concept of this movie, exploring an abandoned Chernobyl years later, but the movie fails to execute on it.  There are a few good scares, but most of them are very run-of-the-mill and almost every box on the “horror movie stereotype checklist” is hit.  This movie does absolutely nothing to shake up the horror formula, nor does it use the conventions of the formula to any great effect.  The movie feels rather quaint post The Cabin in the Woods.  I couldn’t in good conscience recommend this movie.

Disliked it

Disliked ItThis is a movie that is just bad.  There are no redeeming qualities about the film, and no reason to recommend it to others.  I would never want to see this movie again unless it is to show someone how poorly a movie can be made or to watch it ironically.  If I enjoyed myself at any time while watching this movie, it was because I was laughing at it, not with it.

This rating is indicated by a ) : on our ratings lists.

Example from Andrew’s list:

Movie 43

Movie 43

In short, get an amazing cast of A-list actors…and then make them do toilet humor for an hour and a half.  The movie is a collection of supposedly comedic skits, but each one really only has one joke, and the joke is usually something along the lines of “Look! Balls!”  Watching this movie made me feel bad for all involved, and I wouldn’t recommend it under any circumstances.

Hated it

Hated ItWhile a “Disliked It” movie is just bad, a “Hated It” movie is something that I actively hate. It is the type of movie that I would go out of my way to tell people not to watch, as it is something that personally offends me.  For good reason, this rating is sometimes referred to as fuck this movie.

This rating is indicated by a D: on our ratings lists.

Example from Andrew’s list:


The Last Airbender

I personally have such affection for the Avatar: The Last Airbender series, that this movie adaptation literally made me angry.  It was as if M. Night Shyamalan decided to adapt something by only reading it’s plot summary on Wikipedia.  The special effects were gross, the acting was atrocious, and the casting was frankly racist. Worse off, this movie put a permanent shit stain on the otherwise outstanding Avatar series, and effectively killed any hope of an actual film adaptation. I will go out of my way to tell people how bad this movie is and to dissuade them from watching it, because I don’t want people to support this garbage with their time or money.

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